Tom Clancy’s The Division is set for release by Ubisoft on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One on 8 March 2016. An open-world game, the setting is New York, where a virus has hit the streets and madness ensues. Players have to work together and find the source of the virus while working through enemies in the form of a third-person-shooter.
I decided to update this article after playing the Beta so I could write with a working knowledge of the game. I’ve played a few hours so far and I’m enjoying it much more than I thought. Think Borderlands meets Rainbow Six.
The world looks gorgeous at times and has the potential to be truly immersive. The NPC’s are really interactive, including animals. I must admit I followed a dog around the square for a good five minutes wondering if it were going to suddenly glitch through a wall and disappear but it didn’t and I was impressed. However, some of the human scripts are a bit mundane and it doesn’t feel like you can really interact with them. For example, I must’ve stopped the same guy looting the same woman three times and when I approached both ran away. Next time I passed through the area they were doing exactly the same thing. As well as this, a lot of the buildings are off-limits, which disappointed me as they’d done a good job drawing me in.
The Division is more of an RPG than a shooter, as stated in the Beta. As a rule I don’t like third-person shooting and can’t enjoy games like Mass Effect because of it, even though I know it’s critically acclaimed. It just feels too robotic for me- like it’s not me making those headshots. There’s an active cover system, which there always seems to be in third-person games and this can only add to a ‘chip and grind’ feel in my opinion. I actually enjoy the fighting mechanics, made much better due to external factors such as Gunsmith, where players can choose the scope and grip on their guns. Enemies don’t seem to increase in difficulty through getting smarter or having interesting abilities though, but through a bigger health bar that has to be ground down.
Each player has their own base and earns experience points to be used in upgrading their character through crafting gear, skills and talents. The base is absolutely destroyed to begin with and has to be rebooted and built from the ground up. There are also different rarities of guns and gear that can be crafted, which sounds great and I hope it’s implemented nicely. After playing for roughly an hour I’d modified a nice sniper rifle with a cool scope and laser sight (for want of something better.) This helped the combat system, strangely, as headshots seemed to actually be doing something as I downed enemies in one shot.
Throughout the open world there are “Dark Zone’s,” where players can go to loot. This part is really appealing – before you own the loot permanently you and your team must be extracted it from the zone, which as you can imagine leads to lots of PvP action, especially as the location of your helicopter can be seen before it takes you away, making the last few seconds in the zone nail-biting and potentially incredibly frustrating. I can already sense the rage. My experience of the Dark Zone was really fun – straight away it was frantic but not too challenging. The main threats come from a solid level of AI as well as Rogue human players, who’ve gone out of their way to kill another friendly player. There are rewards for killing Rogue Agents, so unless you’re safeguarding a nice piece of loot, I’d say it’s always worth trying to do. There are also crates and vendors who offer better gear than you’d find elsewhere, but I’ve not had much experience of finding anything amazing due to the low level of the general Beta player. Still, I think the Dark Zone’s add a great deal of replayability to the game, especially when you know where to find the good stuff.
I often had a strange feeling while playing that the organisation I was a part for were unsympathetic towards the common man. When normal folk were telling me they weren’t looking for any trouble as I walked past, I felt a stir but resolved that my character was just a badass. Then, five minutes later as I was shooting looters, I definitely felt like I was a bad guy. It was only when I took the screenshot below that I realised that I was, to all intents and purposes, “The Man”. It reminded me of that scene in Batman where Wayne unveiled his super-CCTV network to Lucius.
The Division is built for next gen consoles so the frames per second will be limited. I’m not sure how much extra work Ubisoft will put in to the PC version but I’m not expecting much, although it seems pretty well optimised in the Beta version- it’s playable even on a mid-end PC, which surprised me. I was expecting to have to turn the graphic settings down but I played on the standard settings with no problems at all.
In conclusion, I’m quite looking forward to the full release of the game. It’s much better than I expected although a little content-light. I only say that because it does a great job of involving you in everything it has to offer, making you want more. I hope when the full release is out, with all systems active and the entirety of Manhattan at my disposal, that we’re satiated.
Check out the trailer from E3 2015:
Pre-Order The Division at a reasonable price from Funstock Digital, even cheaper than G2A at the moment! Let me know what you think in the comments, are you looking forward to it? Subscribe today using the big red button on the right and I’ll send you a review of the game when it’s out, letting you know whether it lived up to the hype!